Our difference

Discover all the things that make our Innovation Precinct unique – the diversity of our research knowledge, our purpose-built spaces, our incredible facilities, our partnerships and our training opportunities.

Swinburne was established more than 100 years ago by local industrialists, business people, engineers and technologists – entrepreneurs who wanted to make an impact on our economy and society.

We stand out from the pack for our focus on technology that draws together design, manufacturing and digital knowhow to create commercial and social impact.

Our innovation focus

Innovation happens when different types of knowhow are connected to solve a problem.

  • Design led thinking creates the environment for teams to be built, problems to be unpacked and new solutions for business or social impact to be developed and tested
  • Advanced Manufacturing connects product development and design with new manufacturing processes. It integrates digital technologies that automate production and enable industry to be globally competitive
  • Digital transformation connects customers with technology, creates new business models and drives the use of data to improve our productivity and wellbeing

Design Innovation

Co-create with us to extend your problem-solving perspective, experiment with concepts and their potential value and view new ideas through design, prototyping, business development and technology lenses.

Design Factory Melbourne exists at the forefront of the innovation pipeline. We bring together the best minds from across our global network to create impact in industry, research and education.

Using design led thinking and a process of co-creation we enable industry partners and entrepreneurs to achieve greater impact with their business, products or services. This process also allows our students to gain the invaluable experiences and the skills to be future-ready.

Design Factory Melbourne demonstrates how university and industry collaboration can create commercial impact.

Interdisciplinary industry co-creation

As part of their methodology, Design Factory Melbourne can help you to:

  • Define the business problem you are trying to solve including the business realities that govern your minimal viable product (MVP) such as financial drivers, market dynamics
  • Create a team culture that supports and enables design led innovation for business
  • Assist in the building of actions plans to realise project success
  • Help create business-to-business partnerships.

Design Factory Melbourne also holds a range of activities and workshops to help build the connections that foster innovation

  • Business Breakfasts
  • Business Workshops
  • Innovation ‘Speed Dating’ sessions
  • Brainstorming workshops

Contact us to discover ways to collaborate with Design Factory Melbourne.

Design Factory Melbourne partners

Our project partners come from corporate, government and not-for-profit sectors. Past partners include CSIRO, Deloitte, Visy, Kmart Australia, Anex, ISM Interiors, Involve Audio, Kone, Philips, Biolan, MetsäWood and Coles.

Design Factory Melbourne is part of the Global Design Factory Network.

Design Factory Melbourne has partnered with Stanford University in the ME310 Design Innovation program for students to challenge the industry status quo and ‘futurecast’ cutting-edge social and commercial solutions.

Assoc Prof Anita Kocsis


Assoc Prof Anita Kocsis

As director of DFM since 2003, Anita is at the forefront of industry and university co-creation.

More about Anita 

"Real-world problems driven by a rapidly evolving Internet of Things in a global economy require a cross-disciplinary approach to deliver effective solutions. We bring different disciplines together that don't usually meet. Collaboration is fundamental and by working through problems with our business partners we are seeing how companies can work together to value-add and improve their bottom line."

Read the full article 

Case study: A great milk crate


VISY challenged us to redesign the humble milk crate to reduce the costs of storage, cleaning and theft. After assessing four diverse concepts, VISY is further developing a flat-pack, one-way, recyclable packaging solution that significantly reduces material and transport costs, offers safer manual handling, negates cleaning and theft issues.

Manufacturing Innovation

At Swinburne's Factory of the Future (FOF), we help businesses and entrepreneurs to develop new products and methods of manufacturing to make their business more productive and sustainable.

With Factory of the Future, you can go from idea to prototype. We take product development and construction to the next level.

5 specialist studios

  1. 3-D Visualisation and Design
  2. Rapid Manufacturing
  3. Advanced Inspection and Machining
  4. Biodevice Innovation
  5. Design for Resource Efficiency

In these studios you can:

  1. explore intuitive real-time visualisation and interaction with realistic 3-D imagery
  2. convert your digital concepts to metal, plastic or ceramic prototypes in our 3D Printing/Rapid Manufacturing Studio
  3. develop high-quality components using our advanced machining capability and inspection equipment
  4. produce innovative new devices and integrate components by utilising our expertise in electronics, optics, chemistry and biomaterials-handling
  5. modify your recycling and manufacturing processes to maximise resource efficiency.

CSIRO Lab 22 Partnership


Swinburne and CSIRO have a long-standing relationship that was cemented in 2016 with the creation of the Swinburne-CSIRO Strategic Research Alliance. We focus on advanced manufacturing and materials, digital technologies, design and business innovation. We provide industry with access to facilities and capabilities to engage with high-tech research and development.


Prof Bronwyn Fox


Prof Bronwyn Fox

Bronwyn is Director, Factory of the Future.

More about Bronwyn 

"We work with industry partners to solve key challenges through integration of innovative design platforms, advanced manufacturing technologies, materials and information systems. The outcomes of our work will commercialise new technology, enabling Australian companies to capitalise on the expanding international market and tap into global supply chains."
Professor Bronwyn Fox, Director, Factory of the Future

Industry 4.0

The next industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0, utilises recent advances in communications and digital technologies, including the “Internet of things”. It allows us to automate and control production processes so that they run seamlessly and smoothly.

Swinburne's Factory of the Future is teaming up with multinational manufacturers and small to medium Australian enterprises to develop an ‘industry ready’ pilot plant for the automated production of new high‐value composite parts made from carbon fibre.

Our industry partners will work alongside Swinburne academics and students in the facility to solve complex design, materials, automation and inspection challenges.

In line with our cross-disciplinary approach to innovation, experts in business model development and product marketing will assist SMEs to develop their capabilities and ultimately join the global composites supply chain.

Digital Innovation

One of the biggest drivers of innovation is the ability to harness the power of data analytics (digital technology and big data).

At the Digital Innovation Lab, we achieve transformative change for enterprises, governments and end-users. By integrating economy-wide digital technology and the internet of things, big data, data science and domain science we enable people to make better decisions.

We engage in high-impact, demand-driven translational research and innovation projects and target health innovation, smart cities, future manufacturing and social innovation.

Our team is made up of experienced innovators, developers, post-docs and students. We draw on expertise from across the university in data science, engineering, business and domain science.

Prof Jack Singh


Prof Jack Singh

Professor Jack Singh is Director of Swinburne's Digital Innovation Lab

More about Jack 

"The Swinburne Digital Innovation model brings together world-class researchers and developers with industry and government to solve some of the big challenges facing our global community."
Professor Jack Singh

Bondi Labs

One of Australia’s most innovative digital startups, Bondi Labs, joined Swinburne’s Innovation Precinct in 2016. Embedded within Swinburne’s Digital Innovation Lab, it focusses on cutting-edge external commercial research and development using pioneering software, virtual reality and augmented reality products.

Bondi Labs specialises in addressing global challenges and needs, with a particular focus on the health, biotechnology, biosecurity and environmental sectors.

As a startup, Bondi Labs have a unique understanding of the challenges inherent in building a commercially viable business.

“The vastly complex challenges facing the globe today require genuine collaboration based on complementary capabilities, shared values and an entrepreneurial culture that makes things happen.”
Bondi Labs’ founder, Jonathan Marshall

The Fire Station

The Swinburne Innovation Precinct extends across the whole university, but our front door and headquarters will be located in the Fire Station.

The former Fire Station on William Street, adjacent to our Hawthorn campus, will be redeveloped and restored to reopen in late 2017. The station dates from 1910, just two years after Swinburne was first established as a technical institute.

It will provide purpose-built spaces for teaching, innovation activities and events. Most importantly it will encourage collaboration with and among the Design Factory Melbourne, our Incubator program, Entrepreneurs-in-Residence and industry partners.

The design was created by H2O Architects.

The Fire Station
The Fire Station